Sunday, January 2, 2011

"I'd Rather Be Fit in Public"

having struggled with my weight since i hit puberty, i clearly missed out on many usual milestones through my teenage years. i’m not saying that overweight people don’t have proper social skills or they are not allowed to play sports. what i’m saying is that i allowed my weight to dictate what i did and even more disappointing, what i didn’t do.

through high school, i wore huge clothes to hide my body and avoided gym class whenever possible because the anxiety of undressing in front of my classmates was paralyzing.

my junior year, i was hit by a car (that is a huge story that i will save for it’s own post) and i was actually relieved that i didn’t have to take gym. seriously. i was hit by a friggin car and i was happy because i didn’t have to undress in front of other people. that was my primary concern. not that i had to have 2 surgeries and wear a cast for almost 4 months and then relearn how to walk. i didn’t want my classmates to see my bare thighs.

when i think about the person i was back then, it makes me very sad. i wish i realized how ridiculous that was, but i guess those issues make me appreciate how far i’ve come...blah blah blah. it still annoys me.

before puberty, i was a very active child. my mom was constantly yapping at me to sit back in my chair and relax while i eat dinner because i would literally run in, sit at the edge of my kitchen chair, woof some food down and run back out to play. by run, i mean literally run. i ran everywhere. they always joked that i was running before i was walking. my family managed a bowling alley in buffalo and my dad always talks about how i would come to visit and he would try to introduce me to people while i zoomed by, just running back and forth around the main lobby area. i’m sure it was fueled by full free access to the pepsi machine in the restaurant and candy room, but regardless, i was a big ball of energy.

as my goal weight grew nearer this past spring, i started to think about what activities made me happy as a child, in an attempt to tap back into that 4 year-old wild woman. now, if you read my success story, you know a main reason why i chose running, but this is the reasoning why i thought it would click for me. 

i started out running at the gym, but i only chose treadmills that faced the window. the added benefit, was the ability to flip off tourists in those double decker buses to relieve any aggression i had that day, but it was essentially, so i didn’t have to see who was around and making me feel self-conscious. after my run, i would wash my face after and take the hour long train home, as a big sweaty mess. i’m sure my fellow d train riders were less than pleaseD with my general funk.

finally, one day, i decided to force myself to shower at the gym. it was a rough couple weeks while i tried to learn to balance towel placement with exposed skin areas, but i did it. 

i then realized that i had to start to be comfortable with running outdoors. now, as i have mentioned previously, i am a sloooooow runner. people walk faster than i run and i’m not even kidding. i am often lapped by women old enough to be my grandmother. the number i was given in the central park conservancy race was off by about 2,000 runners because they had me down as a 9min/mile, which i do not expect i will ever be able to achieve. i like to think of myself as the 80‘s movie-style serial killer of running. i may be moving very slow, but i’m gonna get ya!

that said, about a month ago, i decided to try to run around central park and while looping past the great meadow, i saw an exercise class and the group of people were kicking and punching while the coach was cheering them on. i immediately thought, “oh god. i could never do that” and then it hit me. those people are kicking ass! why wouldn’t i want to look like that? that thought triggered another, which was, “i’d rather be fit in public, than fat and naked in front of my doctor.”

so now i run in public with a big smile on my face and i shower at the gym without fail. my shame and embarrassment was replaced with pride and self-confidence. is there anything better?